Feb 232015
In my blissful pre-Internet youth, weather was a local concern and climate was something you only worried about at epochal intersections.  Like the Cambrian–Ordovician extinction event, which really sucked for trilobites but became useful to first-year Geology students millions of years later.

Today’s electronic immediacy though means everything is local and instant.  Geographic boundaries have been replaced by ideological ones that realign our interests and attention.  Thanks to the Internet, I can be a better neighbor to Timo the programmer in Finland than what’s-his-name who lives across my street.

But knowing each other’s news doesn’t necessarily put us on the same page.

Consider Winter.  I used to watch in awe during December trips to Helsinki as local snow removal crews cleared megatons of the crunchy white stuff in the time it takes McDonald’s to defrost a hamburger.  One can’t help but marvel at the efficiency.

When we Texans complain for a few days each year how frozen water brings us to a halt, however, everyone north of latitude 33° has a good laugh (or curse).  They’re going to spend days excavating junk mail retrieval routes through meter-deep snow.

What my shivering neighbors to the north may not understand though is that while they’re locked into a reliable month-plus Siberian experience, our weather is a bit more temperamental.  For one, we really only have two seasons: Summer and Winter.  Spring and Fall are concepts we hear about but just don’t really see.  And even in mid-Winter, Summer likes to make welcome guest appearances.  Which leads to the second point.

“If you don’t like the weather in Texas, wait a few minutes” is more than just wordy bumper sticker material– it’s wisdom by which we live.  Failure to do so means being caught unprepared as some arctic cold front rudely displaces that February Summer surprise.  As kids my brothers and I once had a great time coasting to a nearby store courtesy of a wicked north wind.

We didn’t have near as much fun fighting it for the return home.

The biggest problem for us Texas drivers during Winter storms is caused by, well, us Texas drivers.  You’re right: navigating to work across snow-packed city streets is agonizing but not really that treacherous.  But down here we melt and mix and displace it in the process, and aye, there’s the rub.

Driving across the choppy frozen result the next day is what makes us @#%&*!#!, my snow-shoveling friends.

Ice may not look like much, but it greatly magnifies stupidity

Ice may not look like much, but it greatly magnifies stupidity

So don’t give me grief for staying home from work tomorrow.  I did my part today by making slush so that you, too, can stay home.

You’re welcome.

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